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Down Syndrome is quite common in Malaysia

Mar 22, 2019


Image: Persatuan Sindrom Down Malaysia

Down Syndrome occurs in about 1 in every 660 live births in Malaysia.

Because it's that common, we decided to find out more about the condition, from pregnancy till death. 

The test for a Down Syndrome baby can be taken by expectant moms as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy. 

The accuracy of the test is said to be up to about 99 percent.

Couples should also go for counselling, should they find out their unborn baby has Down Syndrome, as they'll need to be mentally and emotionally prepared on what to expect.

We also spoke to Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Geneticist at UKM, Professor Dr Zarina Abdul Latiff, to clear up a couple of misconceptions about Down Syndrome. 

1. Down Syndrome is inherited

Prof Dr Zarina says it is indeed a genetic condition, but it is not necessarily inherited.

In fact, 95 percent of Down Syndrome cases, occur as a spontaneous event.

She also explains that Down Syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome No.21.

This is why March 21 was selected as World Down Syndrome Day. 

2. The life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome is short 

Prof Dr Zarina says there are people with Down Syndrome, who lead healthy lives well into their 60s.

In many cases, she says they do enjoy fulfilling lives. 

But she says it depends on the whether the individual has any associated condition like congenital heart disease. 

Meanwhile, did you know that on World Down Syndrome Day, people wear mismatched socks, as a way to raise awareness and honour the day? 

Image: Malta Independent

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